Horological complexity and a new movement Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva: The Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar
The resolutely contemporary Quai de l’Ile collection launched by Vacheron Constantin in 2008 is now enriched with a Retrograde Annual Calendar model. This complication is revealed through the new Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460 QRA and housed within a 43 mm case offering unique opportunities for personalisation. This Retrograde Annual Calendar also features new dial variations featuring alternating vertical satin-brushed and opaline finishing, versions that are now available for all models in the Quai de l’Ile collection.
It made a significant impact in 2008 and will doubtless not go unnoticed in 2011. Resolutely contemporary and embodying as never before the concept of personalisation in the field of fine watchmaking, the Quai de l’Ile collection welcomes a new complication that is as useful as it is technical: the retrograde annual calendar. Clothed in pink or white gold – or both if the customer so wishes – this model with its dynamic lines houses a new mechanical self-winding complicated movement designed, developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin: Calibre 2460 QRA, bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. This calibre incorporates two expressions of technical mastery: the annual calendar combined with a retrograde date display.
A rare and extremely useful combination
The annual calendar is undoubtedly one of the most useful complications, since it takes account of the essential calendar irregularities over a full year. Contrary to simple calendars programmed for 31-day months and requiring date corrections almost every two months, the mechanical programming of the annual calendar enables it to handle months of both 30 and 31 days. This means it requires adjustment just once a year in order to cope with the specific vagaries of the month of February. Already remarkable in its own right, this complication is associated in the new Quai de l’Ile model with a retrograde date display, an acknowledged Vacheron Constantin speciality.
A new calibre
The master-watchmakers and design engineers of Vacheron Constantin have conceived, developed and crafted the new Calibre 2460 QRA, complying with technical specifications that included the need to meet the high finishing and construction stipulations laid down by the Hallmark of Geneva regulations. The new 326-part Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460 QRA drives the hours, minutes and small seconds at 9 o’clock, as well as the annual calendar with retrograde date display, months and a high-precision moon-phase indication requiring correction just once every 122 years. Equipped with a stop-seconds device to ensure precise time-setting, it is endowed with a 40-hour power reserve and a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour). This mechanical self-winding movement is equipped with an oscillating weight mounted on ceramic ball bearings and specially developed to match the spirit of the innovative Quai de l’Ile collection. Crafted in ruthenium-plated 22K gold, it is distinguished by its pure lines enhanced by five raised decorative fillets.
A visibly modern character
The contemporary character of the Quai de l’Ile collection is further reinforced by the case of the Retrograde Annual Calendar available in a new 43 mm size. Cushion-shaped and featuring a screw-down back fitted with a sapphire crystal pane, this original case is a contemporary reinterpretation of a classic watch shape. Like legendary cars that are endlessly redesigned to keep pace with style developments, the Quai de l’Ile case is a vivid expression of an avant-garde watchmaking concept, while remaining entirely in harmony with the stylistic spirit of Vacheron Constantin. Constantly in search of flowing shapes and visually perfect curves, as well as the boldly assertive character and dynamic lines of stealth-type objects, the Vacheron Constantin designers have pushed the limits of these territories in conceiving and designing this case that now symbolises the Vacheron Constantin personalisation concept.
Time for personalisation
Available in three versions in the standard collection (pink gold, white gold or two-tone pink and white gold), the Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar corresponds to another of the collection’s signature features: personalisation. The owner can personalise the model according to certain predefined principles, and this unique and unprecedented opportunity in the field of Haute Horlogerie is made possible by the original construction of the Quai de l’Ile case and its seven-part middle: lateral flanks at 3 and 9 o’clock, lugs at 12 and 6 o’clock, inter-lug pieces at 12 and 6 o’clock, and a support plate. In addition to these seven elements, the 43 mm-diameter case comprises the bezel, the back and the crown. Combined with certain dial elements, this construction enables Vacheron Constantin to offer its clientele 700 potential variations within the complete Quai de l’Ile collection.
A new face
The latest addition to the collection also offers new dial versions with satin-brushed/vertical finishing in the central zone and opaline finishing in the outer zone, as well as for the month and date indications. When launched in 2008, the Quai de l’Ile achieved a considerable impact through its unprecedented association between the watchmaking world and the most secret and sophisticated “Security Printing” technologies. A powerful emblem of this original security system, the sun motif inspired by the clock tower of the Tour de l’Ile (next to the historic headquarters of Vacheron Constantin) is placed inside a disc printed in invisible ink and appears between 4 and 5 o’clock only under ultra-violet light. Expressing a decidedly avant-garde horological approach, all the models – Annual Retrograde Calendar, Automatic Calendar, Day-Date and Power Reserve – in this collection featuring dynamic lines that may be personalised according to customers’ wishes now come in new dial executions.
The Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar is delivered with two straps: one in black or brown alligator leather, and the other in black or brown rubber, secured by an 18K pink or white gold folding clasp. Resolutely modern in terms of its design and of the original concepts on which its unique personality is based, the new Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar merges perfect mastery of mechanical complexity with innovative design and an entirely original personalisation concept.